International Shipping: Requirements of Documents

  • October 6, 2020
  • Blog

International movement of consignment defines two activities: Import and Export. In both these activities, many documents change hands forming a long chain of exchange. Documents start from the parties responsible for import and export, companies that are handling shipping and movement will look at another set of documents to move the consignment into international waters. Even the banks will have to look into the payments if it’s collected from the concerned parties. In this article, we would look into the set of documents that are essential to pave the way for a consignment to move to its destination in international freight forwarding.

Purchase Order

The PO created is an official signed document to confirm that an order has been processed.  It comprises information about the parties that are involved, the consignment that is been sent, and the date of the agreement been signed.


The invoice will have all the specifications about the nature of the product that is being moved, from its identification to its market value. It will also have the details on how it’s going to be paid.
This document is essential for the party responsible for importing the goods, as it has all the specifics of the transaction that will be submitted to tax authorities.

Air Waybill

The Air Waybill pertain all the shipping information: Names and addresses of the shipper and consignee, the price of the consignment, along with the details of the number of items shipped and their weight. Besides that, any special instructions about the package, whether it’s an inflammable or a fragile parcel should also be mentioned.
The Air Waybill is one such document that travels with the consignment from origin to destination.
It is often the case that this document contains special instructions for the package, such as being flammable or fragile. 

Bill of Lading

Bill of Lading is a crucial document as it offers the shipping lines vital information throughout the cargo’s shipment process. It contains detailed information on where the consignment is headed, the details of the consignment, and how it needs to be handled. For more details, check our blog: The Significance Of Two Bills (Of Lading) In Freight Forwarding

Packaging List

Packing List is similar to the commercial invoice but does not include information on the market value of the goods that are being shipped. The Packaging list should also contain specifications, like:

  • Details of the goods
  • Invoice number
  • Weight of the package

Letter of Credit (LC)

A letter of Credit is released by a bank that confirms that the consignee’s payment will be processed on time based on the agreement. In situations, wherein the consignee is not able to process the payment on time, it’s the bank’s responsibility to close the transaction by covering the remaining amount of money.
The fact that international shipping is complex and it has to take into account all the cumbersome legislation, the uncertainties, the distance between parties, etc. and hence the Letter of Credit is said to be an important document in an international movement of consignment.

Multimodal Bill of Lading

When a consignment is moved from its origin to its destination point it might have to use different modes of transport to deliver it to the final point of destination. All details with regards to transport need to be recorded in this document.

Certificate of Origin

The party responsible for the export of the goods, prepares the Certificate of Origin, taking into consideration the laws and standards of the other country, that is importing it. Sometimes the document needs the certification from the Chamber of Commerce or a Consulate as this marks a provenance of the cargo.

Proforma Invoice

A Proforma invoice is created by the supplier or shipper to provide the purchaser or consignee with the details of the products with their rate as agreed upon by both parties. Based on the proforma invoice, the original invoice is prepared and it’s also a way to declare the goods at customs.
These are some of the documents that are prepared while moving the shipment in the international waters. MyHubPlus, a 20Cube’s smart portal has the special feature of uploading all documents which can be instantly reviewed by the other party concerned. This feature is an advantage as it encourages the use of paper and digitalizes all processes.